New Jersey Native Halsey Takes Us On A Trip To the Graveyard

Today, the Queen of New Jersey’s Badlands, Halsey released a new single for her upcoming 16-track album “Manic,” dropping in its entirety in January of 2020. It’s noon and “Graveyard” has already made it to the top of Spotify’s “Hottest 50,” which currently has more than 24 million subscribers. Halsey, born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of seventeen. While many can relate the lyrics of “Graveyard” to a toxic relationship with a family member, lover, or friend, Ashley is actually talking about (or to) herself (Halsey) here.

Ashley posted on Instagram today and signed off with the statement to her fans, “it’s nice to meet you.” This is THE album reflecting Ashley’s growth and maturity into adulthood. She has evolved out of the Halsey era and is born again as Ashley. The album art and merchandise have the same indicators “H3” and “A01” symbolizing Halsey’s 3rd album and Ashley’s first—a powerful transition that will undoubtedly skyrocket her already thriving career. The art also displays the number “017,” the fateful age Ashley tried to end her life. Instead, she was diagnosed bipolar and followed its destructive path, which she recounts in “Graveyard.”

“Graveyard” is about her struggles with the highs and lows that come with her experience with mental illness—such as the reckless behavior that is known to accompany mania. It is a powerfully melodic and catchy song that opens with a gripping first line, “it’s crazy when the thing you love the most is the detriment—let that sink in. i can think again.” Here, Ashley is speaking to Halsey, the girl who used to run with her mania, because it made her feel so good, but when the mania clears and she can think again she sees how she’s running herself to the graveyard. Mental illness can easily push you “down all your darkest roads.” In the scenario, the life she used to love so much was actually killing her, and she’s admitting she was committed to dying that way.

The emotional impact of the song is ripped open at the end with a deep realization from Ashley: “It’s funny how the warning signs can feel like they’re butterflies.” Then you hear her gasp for air—as if being brought back to life. She has healed, and now she’s safe as Ashley. Ashley is stable. Ashley takes care of and is kind to herself.

Halsey released a time-lapse video on YouTube of her painting a large self-portrait (the album cover) in a beautiful warehouse studio along to the song. As you watch her paint, the golden light behind the canvas slowly creeps out of frame. Halsey is not refraining from embracing and releasing her artistic side on all fronts with this album. In the portrait, Ashley adorns one clear eye, and one eye painted with a glittery blue bruise. Here, she’s beautifully representing her experience with her bipolar disorder—she sees through two different eyes. “You look at me with eyes so dark I don’t know how you even see.” If Ashley is using her moniker, Halsey, to represent the “Manic” side of her personality, then she visually represents this in the album art. The Halsey side is bruised but sparkling; she has pierced ears and is shown as the dark side. Ashley has minimal eye makeup, still glittery, but very gentle and calm-looking. She represents clarity. Ashley is the light side, backlit beautifully illuminating her profile. Taking it a step further, the photo symbolizes the dualism required to reach a more enlightened state to overcome the struggles of mental illness. There is nothing more humbling than being your own worst enemy.

“An Album made by Ashley for Halsey” —Halsey’s Instagram story post on Friday, September 13, 2019

“it’s crazy when the thing you love the most is the detriment—let that sink in. i can think again. when the hand you want to hold is a weapon and you’re nothing but skin. oh cause i keep digging myself down deeper. i wont stop till i get where you are. i keep running. i keep running. i keep running.

they say i may be making a mistake. i would’ve followed all the way no matter how far. i know when you go down all your darkest roads. i would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard. oh cause i keep digging myself down deeper. i won’t stop till i get where you are. i keep running and both my feet hurt. i won’t stop till i get where you are. oh when you go down all your darkest roads. i would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard.

you look at me with eyes so dark i don’t know how you even see. you push right through me. it’s getting real. you lock the door. you’re drunk at the steering wheel. and i can’t conceal. oh cause i’ve been digging myself down deeper. i won’t stop till i get where you are. i keep running. i keep running. i keep running.

they say i may be making a mistake. i would’ve followed all the way no matter how far. i know when you go down all your darkest roads. i would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard. oh cause i keep digging myself down deeper. i won’t stop till i get where you are. i keep running and both my feet hurt. i wont stop till i get where you are. oh when you go down all your darkest roads. i would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard.

it’s funny how the warning signs can feel like they’re butterflies. oh cause i keep digging myself down deeper. i won’t stop till i get where you are. i keep running and both my feet hurt. i won’t stop till i get where you are. oh when you go down all your darkest roads. i would’ve followed all the way to the graveyard. ”

Halsey - “Graveyard” lyrics trancribed by Ashley Capra

DISCLAIMER: These are my own views and are no way factual evidence for Halsey’s views or creative process.